Decision due on Doncaster Council spending cuts

SPENDING cuts including more than 300 job losses are expected to get the go-ahead today when Doncaster Council meets to set its budget this afternoon.

The cuts come as the authority looks to save another £25 million in the forthcoming financial year, without any increase in council tax charges which are due to be frozen.

It is also looking at closing a children’s centre, and bringing in car parking charges for the first time in 30 years at the multi-storey car park in Mexborough.

A report before councillors this afternoon warns: “The scale of the reductions over the four years mean staff reductions are inevitable.

“It is currently estimated that delivering the 2013/14 proposals will involve around 308 reductions.

“To achieve the savings the council will initially look to delete vacant posts, then seek volunteers. Compulsory redundancy will be the last resort.”

The budget looks set to get the go-ahead after plans to increase some council charges for elderly and disabled residents were reduced in an amendment to the original budget plans.

Labour had expressed concerns over the levels of increase, and Mayor Peter Davies has reduced them in the documents due to go before the council today.

It would mean a planned 53 per cent increase in day care charges would now be a 10 per cent hike, meaning they will go up from £9.80 a day to £10.78.

Home care fees would remain at £11.28 an hour and day care transport charges will be £2 a day rather than the proposed £5.

It is understood any amendments proposed by the majority Labour group of councillors are likely to be relatively minor alterations to parts of the capital budget.

Under the budget, the largest single piece of capital expenditure next year would be £25.9 million to go on the airport link-road plan, known as the Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme.

Another £5.2 million would go on the White Rose Way widening scheme, and another £4.5 million on other transport schemes including bridges.

More than £30 million would go on housing projects including decency work. Other spending on major projects would see £1.5 million more put into the Civic and Cultural Quarter scheme, and £6.2 million on a waste recycling depot scheme.

Today’s budget will be the first to be debated in the new council chamber at the new council building in the Civic and Cultural Quarter.